Animation & VFX Mentors

Team of professionals loving their job and willing to share their experience and knowledge.

Animation Mentor Mike Safianoff - Blue Sky Studios
Mike Safianoff - Blue Sky Studios

Mike Safianoff is currently a character animator at Blue Sky Studios. He wrapped up "Ice Age: Collision Course" and "The Story of Ferdinand."

Previously he was at Dreamworks, animating on:

  • Puss in Boots
  • Madagascar 3
  • Turbo
  • Peabody and Sherman
  • How to Train your Dragon 2
  • Penguins of Madagascar
  • Secrets of the Masters
  • Home

Prior to working in feature film, Mike worked on a few VFX projects for Tippett Studios, EA, 2K and ILM. Additionally, he has been teaching beginning and advanced animation classes for close to ten years.

Animation Mentor Juan Pablo Sans - Dreamworks
Juan Pablo Sans - Dreamworks

JP Sans has worked in the industry for over 8 years. He started his career at Blue Sky Studios, where he worked on "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs". He continued his work there with the "Ice Age" franchise, and worked on "Rio", where he was one of the leads on "Luiz, the bulldog".

He then continued his work as an animator at DreamWorks Animation, where he worked on "Rise ofthe Guardians".

Animation Mentor David Stodolny - DreamWorks
David Stodolny - DreamWorks

David Stodolny (Stodoe) has been animating and drawing since he was 4 years old. He grew up in Brampton, Ontario, Canada. After high school, David attended the Classical Animation program at Sheridan College (where he acquired the nickname STODOE). David then pursued his life long dream of animating for a living. He started working on TV shows and direct-to-DVD features in Toronto while working for Nelvana and DKP. He eventually moved to C.O.R.E. Feature Animation, working on "The Wild" which gave him the experience to move down to LA to work for Sony Pictures Imageworks. David contributed to such films as:

  • Open Season
  • Surf's Up (Academy Award Nominated)
  • I Am Legend
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Currently David is working for Dreamworks Animation where he worked on the:

  • How To Train Your Dragon (Oscar nominated)
  • Kung Fu Panda 2
  • Puss In Boots
  • Turbo
  • Home
  • Zootopia
  • Inner workings
  • Moana
  • Weeds

He has also been doing his own cartoons under the name of Stodoe Studios as a way to keep himself doing 2D and also to get his own ideas and silly cartoons out to the world.

Animation Mentor Christopher Cordingley - Disney Animation Studio
Chrisopher Cordingley - Disney Animations Studio

Christopher Cordingley started his career in character animation at Rhythm and Hues Studios in 2003. In 2004, he began working at Walt Disney Animation Studios where he has been a character animator ever since.

His work includes animating on:

  • Meet the Robinsons
  • Bolt
  • Tangled
  • Wreck it Ralph
  • Prep and Landing
  • Paperman
  • Frozen
  • Zootopia
  • Big Hero 6
  • Weeds
Animation Mentor Joe Bowers - Dreamworks
Joe Bowers - Dreamworks

Joe Bowers has been working in the Animation industry for 13 years. He started as a CG Modeler at the Walt Disney Animation Studios. Shortly after, he entered Disney's Animator Training Program and made the transition from modeling to animation, learning from Disney's veteran animators.

He animated on several shorts including "Prep and Landing", as well as movies like "Bolt" and "Tangled". He joined the DreamWorks team in September 2010 to work on:

  • Puss in Boots
  • Rise of the Guardians
  • The Croods
  • Turbo
  • How to Train Your Dragon
  • Bushworld Adventures

Animation Mentor Scott Lemmer - Dreamworks
Scott Lemmer - Dreamworks

Scott Lemmer is from a small town outside the city of London, Ontario, Canada and has a lifelong passion for animation. Scott’s early education earned him a Bachelors degree in the classical arts of painting, drawing and sculpture before pursuing his dream in animation. Following University, he studied animation at the Vancouver Film school and went on to get his first job in animation working on the Jimmy Neutron television cartoon series.

Over the past 12 years, Scott has worked for Pixar, Disney Feature Animation, Blue Sky Studios, and Dreamworks Animation on films such as:

  • Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
  • Rio
  • Ice Age Continental Drift
  • Bolt
  • The Ant Bully
  • The Croods
  • Turbo
  • Mr. Peabody and Sherman
  • The Penguins of Madagascar
  • Home
  • Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Scroll
  • Trolls
  • Ferdinand
Animation Mentor Rebecca Perez - Sony Pictures Animation
Rebecca Perez - Sony Pictures Animation

Rebecca was born and raised in sunny Miami, Florida. She’s always had a passion for art and drawing. She attended and earned a BFA in Computer Animation and a BA in Photography at Ringling School of Art and Design before accepting an Artist position at LucasArts Entertainment. She spent the next 6 years developing her skills as an Animator, Modeler, Texture Artist, and Designer, working on such games as:

  • Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter
  • Star Wars: Battle for Naboo
  • Star Wars: Republic Commando
  • Escape from Monkey Island
  • Grim Fadango

With her well rounded education and experience she ventured off to Los Angeles where she has continued to work at some of the most prestigious studios such as DreamWorks Animation, Disney Animation, Sony Animation, Rhythm and Hues, and Bluesky.

Rebecca has animated on wide range of feature films such as:

  • The Golden Compass (Academy Award winning)
  • How To Train Your Dragon (Academy Award Nominated)
  • Kung Fu Panda 2
  • Megamind
  • Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs
  • Bolt
  • Turbo
  • The Emoji Movie

She continues teaching and contributing to the animation society. Keep an eye out for her latest developments on her blog.

Animation Mentor Vadim Besedin - MOCAP.LT
Vadim Besedin - MOCAP.LT

Vadim has been working in the CG industry for more than a two decades. He started as a 2D graphic designer but a few years later realized that he wanted to expand his horizons and went further towards 3D, animation and VFX.

In 2007 he opened a motion capture studio - MOCAP.LT and since then he has not only been working professionally in animation, but is also involved in teaching companies and studios how to build mocap, animation and vfx pipelines.

In 2010 founded CGTarian online school.

Currently Vadim works as a MoCap director, CG generalist and instructor at CGTarian online school.

Modeling Mentor Shannon Thomas - Blizzard Entertainment
Shannon Thomas - Blizzard Entertainment

Shannon has over 13 years of experience working in the Film and Animation Industry. His diverse career has led him across the globe and back where he's worked on several Academy Award winning films and some of the largest blockbuster movies to date, including:

  • Avatar
  • The Hobbit
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2
  • Penguins of Madagascar
  • Overwatch: Alive
  • Overwatch: Dragons
  • Overwatch: Hero
  • Overwatch: The Last Bastion
  • Overwatch: Infiltration
  • The Boss Baby

Shannon's path into the industry wasn't as straight forward as most. He first earned a B.S. in Pre-Veterinary Medicine and worked for several years in Florida as a Veterinary Technician before going back to school at the Academy of Art in San Francisco in 2003. While studying at the Academy he gravitated towards modeling initially because of the intensive anatomy knowledge he learned with his first degree. In 2006, he landed his first Modeling gig straight out of school at Rhythm & Hues Studios in Los Angeles. Then, after working in New Zealand for five and a half years at Weta Digital he moved back to the United States to be closer to family, where he worked at DreamWorks Animation for 3 years. There he was nominated for a VES Award for his work on "How to Train Your Dragon 2". In 2015 he made the switch to the Video Game Industry and currently works as a Character Modeler for Blizzard Animation in the Cinematics Department.

Shannon has thoroughly enjoyed mentoring students at his alma mater and looks forward to teaching his craft to CGTarian students.

Modeling Mentor Oasim Karmieh - CG Artist and Toy Designer
Oasim Karmieh - 3D Artist & Toy Designer

I have a been a web and graphic designer for the past 7 years, during which I worked in different areas in digital and web design and I’m not sure I can say which area I love the most yet, but maybe one day I’ll find out.

I studied Modern and Oriental literature for almost 3 years but I dropped out when I found out it wasn’t my calling.

I can’t say that I have a particular style, as a freelance web and graphic designer it’s not a great idea to have a fixed or set in stone style cause our job is create different type of websites and graphics.

I feel that 3D flash websites defines my style. I try to create interesting interfaces, cause I believe the web should be a fun experience and I really try to push my concepts all the time and try to create crazy websites all the time.

I love Learning new stuff all time, exploring new styles and new software, it just keeps your mind active. Cause when you are learning a new software or a technique you will learn how to create a new effect, style, shape, code, etc, it will fuel a new dormant idea, or a concept you had forgotten about in a drawer but you didn’t know how to do it back then, this is why I never throw any of my sketched no matter how messy or stupid they might seem at the moment I drawn them.

In my free time (which is more and more becoming an endangered specie) I love playing video games to relax and it’s a fantastic source of inspiration.

When I go out (which is rare … kidding) I like to take photos and observe light color shapes anything that inspires me, cause you never know where inspiration is hiding.

Advantages of studying in CGTarian online school

Study at any time

Online studies are available anywhere at any time, you do not need to go anywhere.

Instructors' assistance

Weekly online meetings with your instructor and video reviews of your work.

Meetings with professionals

Online meetings with professionals from Disney, Dreamworks, Blizzard and from other studios.

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